An analysis is made of Earth-surface geoelectric fields and voltages on electricity transmission power-grids induced by a late-phase E3 nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP). A hypothetical scenario is considered of an explosion of several hundred kilotons set several hundred kilometers above the eastern-midcontinental United States. Ground-level E3 geoelectric fields are estimated by convolving a standard parameterization of E3 geomagnetic field variation with magnetotelluric Earth-surface impedance tensors derived from wideband measurements acquired across the study region during a recent survey. These impedance tensors are a function of subsurface three-dimensional electrical conductivity structure. Results, presented as a movie-map, demonstrate that localized differences in surface impedance strongly distort the amplitude, polarization, and variational phase of induced E3 geoelectric fields. Locations with a high degree of E3 geoelectric polarization tend to have high geoelectric amplitude. Uniform half-space models and one-dimensional, depth-dependent models of Earth-surface impedance, such as those widely used in government and industry reports informing power-grid vulnerability assessment projects, do not provide accurate estimates of the E3 geoelectric hazard in complex geological settings. In particular, for the Eastern-Midcontinent, half-space models can lead to (order-one) overestimates/underestimates of EMP-induced geovoltages on parts of the power grid by as much as 1,000 volts (a range of 2,000 volts)—comparable to the amplitudes of the geovoltages themselves.
|Title||Down to Earth with nuclear electromagnetic pulse: Realistic surface impedance aﬀects mapping of the E3 geoelectric hazard|
|Authors||Jeffrey J. Love, Greg M. Lucas, Benjamin Scott Murphy, Paul A. Bedrosian, E. Joshua Rigler, Anna Kelbert|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Earth and Space Sciences|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Geologic Hazards Science Center|